Ceal Phelan, Charlotte Ford, Arden Theatre Company and 11th Hour Theatre Company Honored With Barrymore Awards

Theatre Philadelphia held its 2013 Theatre Celebration Nov. 4 at the Arden Theatre Company.

The ceremony included the presentation of four Barrymore Awards: The Lifetime Achievement Award, the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Theatre Artist, the Brown Martin Philadelphia Award and the new June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given posthumously to celebrated local actress, director and teaching artist Ceal Phelan. Phelan was a four-time Barrymore Award nominee for her work in T he Breath of Life, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Have It Your Way and My Mother Said I Never Should. She was a longtime resident company member at People's Light & Theatre and co-founded Delaware Theatre Company with Cleveland Morris and husband Peter DeLaurier in 1978. Phelan passed away in February after a decade-long battle with cancer, and the award was accepted by DeLaurier.

Local physical comedienne, actress and director Charlotte Ford received the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist, which is presented annually to a theatre artist who shows outstanding promise in his or her field and is dedicated to working in the Philadelphia theatre community. Ford, who was named the 2012 Performer of the Year by Philadelphia Magazine, directed and starred in the 2012 Fringe Arts production  Bang and was also part of 1812 Production’s It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project.

The F. Otto Haas Award includes a $10,000 cash prize and is intended to enable the recipient to stay in Philadelphia, focus on his or her craft and take the next step in his or her career; the runners-up each received a $1,000 cash award. The 2013 finalists included Liz Filios, actress, teacher, writer, composer and member of The Bearded Ladies Cabaret; playwright, dramaturg, teaching artist and The Foundry co-founder Jacqueline Goldfinger; director, producer and Swim Pony Performing Arts founder Adrienne Mackey; and Alex Torra, actor, director, co-founder of Team Sunshine Performance Corporation and associate artist with Pig Iron Theatre Company.

The Arden Theatre Company's production of Next to Normal received the Brown Martin Philadelphia Award. This award, which includes a $25,000 cash prize sponsored by the Virginia Brown Martin Fund, seeks to recognize a production from any period or genre that demonstrates the ability of theatre to illuminate the ways we live and interact with others as we seek to build community. For the first time, the runners-up each received a $2,500 cash award. The other finalists included 1812 Productions for It’s My Party: The Women and Comedy Project; Simpatico Theatre Project/The Renegade Company for The Amish Project; and The Wilma Theater for Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika. It was also announced at the ceremony that the first recipient of the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre is 11th Hour Theatre Company. Intended to foster interaction within the theatre community, increase the community’s richness and diversity, and to focus public awareness and accessibility to the theatre community, this brand-new award, which carries a $10,000 prize sponsored by the June and Steve Wolfson Family Fund, recognizes, promotes and rewards the creativity, growth and excellence of evolving theatres within the greater Philadelphia community with annual budgets of less than $400,000. The other finalists for this new award were Azuka Theatre, EgoPo Classic Theatre, Inis Nua Theatre Company and Quintessence Theatre Group.

More information about Theatre Philadelphia can be found at theatrephiladelphia.org.